Five things you need to know today

Brexit begins; trust in Garda ‘shattered’; Ring offloads An Post to Naughten; Trump’s climate order

There has been a litany of calls for  Nóirín O’Sullivan to stand aside after revelations  the number of breathalyser tests carried out was exaggerated by one million. Cartoon: Martyn Turner

There has been a litany of calls for Nóirín O’Sullivan to stand aside after revelations the number of breathalyser tests carried out was exaggerated by one million. Cartoon: Martyn Turner

 

1. Theresa May to call for unity in UK as Brexit begins
Theresa May will today promise to represent the interests of everyone in the United Kingdom, including European Union nationals, as she starts two years of formal talks to take Britain out of the EU.
The prime minister will address the House of Commons at 12.30pm, after she notifies European Council president Donald Tusk of the UK’s intention to leave the bloc it joined, along with Ireland, more than four decades ago.
On Tuesday evening Ms May signed the letter that starts the formal exit process which will be hand-delivered on Wednesday by Britain’s ambassador to the EU to Mr Tusk.

2. Ministers believe public trust in Garda force ‘shattered’
A review of all data held by An Garda Síochána is being considered as Ministers believe trust in the force has been “shattered” by the recording of one million breath tests that never happened.
While Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Dáil the Government still has confidence in the Garda Commissioner, some Ministers privately said they had no option but to back Noirín O’Sullivan.
One Minister said support for Ms O’Sullivan was “wafer thin”, and that the unspoken element of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting is a general feeling that she should stand down.

3. Michael Ring offloads management of rural post offices to Denis Naughten
After a political turf war with his west of Ireland colleague Denis Naughten, junior minister Michael Ring has offloaded a political headache: responsibility for the post office network is to be transferred back to the Department of Communications.
This reverses a move last summer which saw responsibility for the network move from the Independent Roscommon TD’s Department of Communications to the Mayo Fine Gael TD’s Department of Rural Affairs.
It comes as post offices are bracing themselves for a wave of closures as the cash-strapped State company An Post implements a major rationalisation and restructuring plan.

4. Some US states say they will push ahead with climate policies despite Trump’s order
The governors of California and New York have said they will push ahead with aggressive climate change policies despite US president Donald Trump’s executive order that seeks to boost the coal industry.
Mr Trump’s order targets more than half a dozen Obama-era regulations in an effort to boost domestic production of fossil fuels.
Democratic governors Jerry Brown of California and Andrew Cuomo of New York said in a joint statement that they will help fill the void left by Mr Trump’s decision to unravel former president Barack Obama’s plan to curb global warming.

5. Oireachtas committee split on prosecutions for wasting water
The Oireachtas committee on water charges is divided on plans to prosecute householders who waste water. The draft report for committee members proposes that existing legislation should be amended to allow for homeowners to be taken to court and sanctions to be imposed thereafter.
Fianna Fáil and Solidarity are supporting the proposal, but it is being resisted strongly by Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin.

And finally: The UK is drunk on sovereignty – and all puffed up with no place to go
Denis Staunton writes that the choice for the UK is now either a hard Brexit, or leaving EU with no deal at all.